PhD candidate in Tumor Cell Biology

University of Leiden – Faculty of Science and Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research

The Faculty of Science and Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research, Division Drug Discovery and Safety is looking for a

PhD candidate in tumor cell biology (1.0 FTE)
Vacancy number 17-510 

Key responsibilities
You will join the Division of Drug Discovery and Safety in the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR) to work on a project funded by the Dutch Cancer Society. The project will be part of an ongoing research line aimed at identifying mechanisms of cancer therapy resistance and metastasis. In this project, you will investigate how the Grainyhead family of transcription factors controls therapy response and metastatic capacity of different subtypes of breast cancer. Molecular biology (e.g. ChiP-Seq and Bru-Seq) experiments and bioinformatics tools will be combined with conditional knockout approaches (Crispr/Cas9) to unravel Grainyhead-controlled signaling networks. Cell biology experiments will reveal the role of these networks in cancer-relevant cellular functions. In vivo experiments will be used to corroborate key findings in tumor metastasis and therapy response.

Selection Criteria

  • MSc degree in a life sciences-related study;
  • Expertise in cell biology, microscopy, molecular biology, biochemistry;
  • A strong motivation to excel in science;
  • Proficient in English, both verbally and in writing;
  • Excellent communication and writing skills;
  • Team spirit but able to work independently, critical, and results-oriented.

Research at our Faculty/Institute
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together. For more information, see

The LACDR is a leading institute dedicated to world-class research and education in drug discovery and development. LACDR comprises a diverse and international team of approximately 150 researchers and is ideally located at the Leiden Bio Science Park, the largest life science cluster in The Netherlands. For more information, see

Terms and conditions 
We offer a position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility, the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary ranges from €2,222 to €2,840 gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). 

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at

The appointment should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). A training & supervision plan will be drafted, including attendance of courses and (international) meetings. The PhD-student is also expected to assist in teaching undergraduates.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science ( Our Graduate School offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups. 

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Erik Danen, email

If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact Mw. Anneke Poels, secretary, email  

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To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to Mw. Anneke Poels at no later than 20 December 2017. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • A letter of motivation;
  • A CV;
  • Two letters of reference.

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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed